CybersecurityEU and U.S. hold joint cybersecurity drill

Published 4 November 2011

On Thursday, the United States and the European Union held their first joint cybersecurity exercise in Brussels, Belgium; the exercise, dubbed “Cyber Atlantic 2011,” was aimed at strengthening efforts to protect international critical infrastructures

 

On Thursday, the United States and the European Union held their first joint cybersecurity exercise in Brussels, Belgium.

The exercise, dubbed “Cyber Atlantic 2011,” was aimed at strengthening efforts to protect international critical infrastructures.

In particular the table-top exercise tested the ability of the two parties to defend against an attack based on advanced persistent threats as well as a staged attack on supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) in electric utilities.

These two issues have emerged as some of the most serious threats to critical infrastructure, especially attacks on SCADA systems, the consequences of which were clearly demonstrated with the Stuxnet virus when it caused physical damage to Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility after infecting its control systems.

Meanwhile on numerous occasions hackers have proven their ability to infiltrate sensitive government and corporate networks, extract information, and publish classified information using advanced persistent threats.

More than twenty EU member states participated in the drill along with the European Commission, which helped direct efforts.

The exercise comes as the result of an EU- U.S. summit held last year in Lisbon that resulted in a joint commitment to cybersecurity. Following the meeting, the two parties held Cyber Europe 2010, a “stress test” exercise,” which the most recent drill drew upon.

“The involvement of the Commission, EU Member States and, of course, the US, in today’s exercise shows the high level of commitment we have to ensuring that we protect our digital infrastructures for the benefit of all citizens,” said Professor Udo Helmbrecht, the executive director of ENISA, which supports EU member states in organizing cybersecurity exercises and creating national cyberdefense plans. 

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